Posted: Mon, 04 Mar 2019 17:00
On the 2nd/3rd March 2019 more than 100 young para-swimmers took part at the National Junior Para-Swimming Championships. Held at the Liverpool Aquatics Centre, Activity Alliance organised the event in partnership with Swim England. It was a golden opportunity for future stars to compete against peers from across the country.
Aged between 10 and 18 years old, the swimmers competed over a short course pool. With medals up for grabs, a number set new personal best times.
Watching the action, Craig Nicholson, Performance Pathway Manager at British Swimming:
"This event is a really positive part of the performance pathway for these young swimmers. The working relationship that British Swimming and Swim England have with Activity Alliance ensures an excellent competition opportunity for the youngsters.
"The more that we can grow the sport, the more that we can provide opportunities for disabled swimmers. We have a number of swimming clubs across Great Britain and they all play a key role in growing the number of swimmers, and also supporting them through the pathway too."
Fern Ioannou, 15, was among swimmers celebrating success after winning bronze in the SB14 100m breaststroke. Competing in a range of events, the Wycombe District swimmer said:
"My favourite swim of the weekend was the 200m freestyle. It is not always about the medals for me - it's about the race. I prefer freestyle – it's faster and I can carry on for ages."
For many swimmers taking part, it was the first time competing at national level. McKenzie O'Reilly, an S10 swimmer from Gloucester, competed in the 50m freestyle with a personal best time of 59.10secs. Afterwards, he said:
"I was nervous before my race, but during it I felt confident. My goal was to get a personal best in under a minute and it's exciting that I have achieved that. I really enjoyed this weekend."
McKenzie's mum, Kerry, said:
"This event is really important to McKenzie because it was his first time competing at a national level. He's put a lot of really hard work in and both his Dad and I are really proud to see him get a personal best at this event."
Another newcomer, 17 year-old Nima Ghavami from Northampton, won gold in the SB7 100m breaststroke and silver in the S7 50m freestyle. He said:
"This is my first junior national event and I really enjoyed competing at it. I know quite a lot of people here so it's always good to see them again and find out how they are getting on, and race against them."
It the first time Liverpool hosted the event. The partnership between Activity Alliance and Swim England aims to increase the opportunities and talent development of young disabled swimmers.
Jane Nickerson, Swim England CEO, said:
"The National Junior Para-Swimming Championships was once again a huge success. It was wonderful to see so many athletes compete and swim their best. Thank you to the Activity Alliance and Liverpool City Council for delivering the event."
Activity Alliance brings members, partners and disabled people together to make active lives possible. Collectively, the charity continues to challenge perceptions and change the reality of disability, inclusion and sport.
Full competition results are available online at www.activityalliance.org.uk
Image credit: SWPix.com